The Change Agent
About Cuddledown Catalog
Established: 1973; Bradley bought the company in 1988.
Headquarters: Portland, ME
Merchandise sold: down products and other high-quality home textiles
Annual circulation: about 2 million
Number of SKUs: about 3,000
Sales channels: catalog, retail store, wholesale and Internet
Why he helped to start a grass-roots campaign among mailers calling for a restructuring of the U.S. Postal Service: Bradley attended a conference in January 2002, and during a presentation given by an executive of a large catalog, it became clear to him that the bigger companies weren’t getting anywhere significant on postal reform. “I have a hard time not doing something about a problem, so I decided to see what I could do,” he recounts.
What he did: Last year, Bradley established the Maine Postal Reform Committee. He organized meetings among other Maine-based mailers and two of their legislators, Sen. Susan Collins and Rep. Tom Allen. Sen. Collins later introduced a bill to establish and fund a presidential commission on postal reform. Bradley says the bill, along with mailers’ letter-writing and lobbying campaigns, was part of a groundswell of pressure that pushed the Bush administration into naming a new presidential commission on postal reform.
His impact so far: Similar grass-roots action has taken place in New Hampshire and Vermont, and is planned for other states, says Bradley. “It’s absolutely necessary for everyone whose business depends on a functional and affordable postal service to meet with their congressional representatives face-to-face to explain just how important this issue is to them. I found that almost without exception everyone involved with commercial mailings wants to help. They often don’t know where to start or what to do. I tell people this is easier than they think.”
Grew up in: Rochester, NY.
Role models: “When I was growing up, I had an older cousin who was charismatic, yet genuinely interested in other people — he had a profound effect on me,” says Bradley. “And there are several people in business who appear to have the values I’d like to think I have, such as caring for other people, and making and selling products that don’t compromise on quality. Yvon Chouinard, Patagonia’s founder, makes all the right moves, though at a level far above me.”